Inspiration

Who’s on First: Finding a quality IT hosting partner

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It’s OK, you can admit it to yourself. The landscape of IT hosting only continues to become more complex and perhaps even confusing. All that means is that you have to keep your critical thinking skills up to date and sharp. You don’t have to remember server operating system version numbers, I promise.

To help cut through the confusion I’ll use an old skit that you may be familiar with. The skit contains banter between two people where they definitely have their wires crossed. As they talk they mix baseball positions with player’s names and it only gets worse, and funnier, from there. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here. And with that I offer the following recipe of clarity for your hosting arrangements.

If you are left with a bunch of nagging questions regarding your current hosting situation, it doesn’t have to be that way. Just follow this formula of asking the right questions. Many of us have fallen into a trap of “old” thinking about hosting for our services. This is a time for a pivot in thinking and you need to be on top of your game. Don’t just consume a commodity, gain real value by knowing you are covered in a comprehensive way. When evaluating your current or future hosting partner ask these three, somewhat silly, questions:

Who’s on first? You know your customer performance is taken care of. If you don’t know what customer performance is, then you need to gain an understanding about it. Check out these two articles on Application Performance Management and Real User Monitoring. If your provider doesn’t know what it is…keep searching. Customer performance is a metric that combines all factors of your service or site into metrics that describe exactly what it’s like to be a user on your site. It’s hard to grasp this concept initially, but it’s easy to understand once you have seen it. You will never think about IT metrics the same ever again.

What’s on second? You know someone has your back if there is an event. When the inevitable happens for whatever reason, do you have a process-based team at the ready to take precise action? How are events like these handled? Are you sure they will be detected in the first place? How will they be treated once they are detected? Are these situations being handled in the way you would expect for your business? Is your role and your provider’s role defined UP FRONT? If not, get it locked down and clear as soon as possible.

I Don’t Know’s on third? You know you can sleep at night when someone is “watching the store” so to speak. When you lay your head down at night, can you really take your mind off of your services? Do you have proven measurable knowledge that you can sleep? That sounds complicated but what it really means is that you can glance at data that shows processes and working and customers are happy 24x7x365. We know you can’t work 24x7x365 and the best of partner will provide a service to offload that stress with confidence.

Seems so simple to just cover three bases to achieve a very solid and predictable environment. Through experimentation, experience, wisdom and plain old hard work this recipe is free for you to use in your own business. So just keep in mind that a true partner of excellence knows who’s on first, what’s on second and when’s on third!